Photo by Ken Conley
The French perception of Lance Armstrong is probably unique. It has to do with history, the French history. The Tour de France has been theirs for 105 years. At school, in their rural areas, they still teach the geography of their country through the stages of the Tour and every child is one day taken by his father to take part in this collective memory; to see it with his own eyes.
In the 1950s, France followed Bobet and Coppi; in the 70s, Merckx and Poulidor. The heroes grew up with their generations and vice versa. Paris has its Eiffel Tower, France has its Tour; two beacons of heritage that are almost as old as each other.
Then came the Festina affair of the 1998 Tour: cars stuffed full of doping products, police searches, confessions. The charm was ruined, the secrets of modern sport exposed.
Then came Lance Armstrong.
('Why France does not applaud Armstrong' by Pierre Ballaster, at guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2009)
Photo by Ken Conley
Family name: Armstrong
Birthplace: Plano, TX
Nationality: United States of America
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Sports Figure
Nationality: United States
Executive summary: 7-time Tour De France winner
2009-Victories by team/year:
1992: 9 victories
1993: 11 victories
1994: 3 victories
1995: 9 victories
1996: 7 victories
1997: 0 victories
1998: 5 victories
1999: 11 victories
2000: 5 victories
2001: 8 victories
2002: 10 victories
Grand Prix Midi Libre 2002
Lance Armstrong finishing 3rd in Sète
taking over the Yellow Jersey
25 May 2002
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
2003: 6 victories
2004: 14 victories
2005: 4 victories
2009: 1 victory
(© 1998-2009 de Wielersite)
Father: Edward Gunderson
Mother: Linda Armstrong Kelly (nee Mooneyham)
Father: Terry Armstrong (stepfather)
Wife: Kristin (Richard) Armstrong (m. 8-May-1998, div. 2003)
Son: Luke David Armstrong (12-Oct-1999, with Kristin)
Daughter: Isabelle Armstrong (twin, b. 2001, with Kristin)
Daughter: Grace Armstrong (twin, b. 2001, with Kristin)
Girlfriend: Sheryl Crow (together 2004)
Girlfriend: Ashley Olsen (Olsen twin, together 2007)
Girlfriend: Anna Hansen (together 2008-, one son)
Son: Max Armstrong (b. 7-Jun-2009 with Hansen)
High School: Plano East Senior High, Plano, TX
High School: Dallas, TX (1989)
Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year 2002
Associated Press Athlete of the Year (male) 2002
Associated Press Athlete of the Year (male) 2003
Associated Press Athlete of the Year (male) 2004
Associated Press Athlete of the Year (male) 2005
Endorsement of Comcast 2003
Endorsement of Nike
New York City Marathon 2:59:36
Asteroid Namesake 12373 Lancearmstrong
Risk Factors: Testicular Cancer, Lung Cancer, Brain Cancer
(Copyright ©2009 Soylent Communications)
Seven times winner of the Tour de France (1999-2006)
World road champion, 1992
Tour de Suisse, 2001
Dauphine Libere, 2002 and 2003
U.S. Professional road race, 1993
Classica San Sebastian, 1995
2nd overall, Tour of the Gila
5th, Stage 1, Amgen Tour of California
7th overall, Amgen Tour of California
3rd, stage 1 TTT, Giro d'Italia
12th overall, Giro d'Italia
(© Competitor Group, et al)
Photo by Ken Conley
Lance Armstrong (born Lance Edward Gunderson on September 18, 1971) won the Tour de France a record-breaking seven consecutive years, from 1999 to 2005. He is the only individual to win seven times, having broken the previous record of five wins, shared by Miguel Indurain and Bernard Hinault, Eddy Merckx and Jacques Anquetil.
He has survived testicular cancer, a tumor that metastasized to his brain and lungs, in 1996. His cancer treatments included brain and testicular surgery and extensive chemotherapy, and his prognosis was originally poor.
In 1999, he was named the American Broadcasting Company Wide World of Sports Athlete of the Year.
In 2000 he won the Prince of Asturias Award in Sports.
In 2002, Sports Illustrated magazine named him Sportsman of the Year.
SI Sportsman of the Year
After winning 4th Tour de France
He was also named Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year for 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005. He received ESPN's ESPY Award for Best Male Athlete in 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006, and won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Overseas Personality Award in 2003.
Armstrong retired from racing on July 24, 2005, at the end of the 2005 Tour de France, but returned to competitive cycling in January 2009.
(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
Armstrong has never lacked endorsement opportunities
His stepfather, Terry Armstrong, told John Wilcockson that about the time that a nine-year-old Lance crashed in a BMX race and started crying. His stepdad didn't sympathise. He picked him up and told him, "We're finished ... If you're gonna come out here and quit and cry, we're done ... I'm not gonna have a quitter."
Armstrong's first professional team trainer, Massimo Testa, an Italian sports doctor, told me a story from the American's first Tour de France in 1993. Armstrong was only 21 and in his first year as a pro. Experts said he was too young to ride the Tour, and his team director said he would pull the youngster once the Tour entered the mountains.
Armstrong could have left the race early after he became the youngest rider in more than 50 years to win a Tour stage; but he persevered. He got through the first day in the Alps by riding with his English team-mate Sean Yates. He then told Testa: "I want to try one more stage to see how I recover overnight."
Twenty-four hours later, after an even tougher day of climbing ended with a 16-kilometre haul to the Isola 2000 ski resort, Testa found Armstrong in his hotel room. "Outside it was super-hot," Testa said, "but he was in bed with two or three sweaters on and a wool hat. He's under the blanket, and he was shaking. That's what happens when you're dehydrated. So I say, 'Hey, Lance, how do you feel?' He said: 'Doing great. Tomorrow, I want to try another.'"
It's that same indomitable spirit that carried Armstrong though his near-fatal bout with cancer in the autumn of 1996, and gave him the temerity to make his incredible comeback to win the Tour de France in 1999 - and go on to win the race seven times in seven years.
('Why I believe in Lance' by John Wilcockson, author, at guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2009)
It is very hard for other cyclists to relate to Lance Armstrong. We respect him - there is no doubt about that - because of what he has achieved and how he races his bike. He is clearly one of the greatest bicycle racers in history. But outside of that, it is very hard for us to even fathom what he achieves. It is, even for us, his peers, unfathomable what he does.
Before Lance came along, cycling tended to be dominated by riders like Miguel Indurain: very elegant and classy on the bike, silent and dignified off it, the classic great cycling champion. Often that was because they came from simple backgrounds and weren't very articulate, or they didn't have many opportunities to speak. Lance from the start was the super-confident American whose style of racing was very domineering. He rarely gave gifts to riders and would take great of pleasure in crushing whoever he was racing against. Not many of the great champions do that.
But he is also complex and paradoxical. He can be very unforgiving, and yet at the same time he can be incredibly kind and empathetic. It's an odd mix. During the Tour de France, just after I'd been banned, he rang me up to make sure I was OK. I think he's always treated me as a wayward little brother - we understand each other and we agree to disagree.
People talk about his effect on cycling, and when he was riding the Tour de France, he was omnipresent. It was always, "How is Lance going to react? What's Lance going to do?" And it got to the point towards the end of those seven Tours where everyone knew how it was going to happen: his team, US Postal, were basically going to control the race, he was going to do well in the first time trial, he was going to smash everyone in the first mountain stage and then defend. So everyone's race became based around Lance's tactics and style of winning the race. Since he's left, the race has become a lot more open, less predictable.
Lance's legacy is huge - it goes way beyond one race, one Tour de France.
('The view from the Peloton by David Millar, a cyclist with Garmin-Slipstream, guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2009)
Lance Armstrong Timeline (Major events in the life of professional cyclist Lance Armstrong):
1971 Lance is born on September 18, in Plano, Texas. His mother, Linda Mooneyham, is 17 at the time.
1987 Competes as a sponsored athlete in triathlons, making him a professional athlete at 16.
1989 Focusing on cycling, Lance qualifies to train with the U.S. Olympic developmental team in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Competes at the Junior World Championships in Moscow.
1991 Becomes U.S. National Amateur champion.
1992 Finishes 14th in the individual road race at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. Future teammate, Fabio Casartelli, wins the event.
Signs with a professional cycling team, Motorola, and finishes last in his first professional race, the Classico San Sebastian.
1993 Wins ten titles including the U.S. Pro Championship, and stage 8 in the Tour de France, and at 22 is the youngest road racing world champion ever.
1995 Named the 1995 Velo News American Male Cyclist of the Year.
Wins the 18th stage of the Tour de France after his teammate and friend Fabio Casartelli is killed in a descent during the 15th stage of that same Tour.
Becomes the first American to win the Classico San Sebastian.
1996 Ranked the number one cyclist in the world.
Becomes the first American to win the Belgian classic Fleche Wallone.
Member of the 1996 Olympic team.
Signs with team Cofidis.
In October, Armstrong is diagnosed with testicular cancer. Learns the cancer has spread to his lungs and brain.
Weeks after his cancer diagnosis, Cofidis cancels his professional contract.
1997 Marks his return to cycling by winning the Sprint 56K Criterium in Austin, Texas.
Founds the Lance Armstrong Foundation, which provides information and support for cancer survivors.
1998 Marries Kristin Richard in Santa Barbara, Calif., who he met the year before while helping promote an Austin, Texas, road race called the Ride for the Roses.
Signs with U.S. Postal, an American professional cycling team.
After dropping out of Paris-Nice, a one day cycling race, goes to Boone, NC, to train with coach Chris Carmichael and former teammate Bob Roll. Decides to continue as a professional cyclist.
Finishes the year by winning the Tour de Luxembourg, the Rheinland-Pfalz Rundfarht in Germany, and the Cascade Classic in Oregon.
1999 Wins the Tour de France, including the opening prologue.
Son Luke is born on October 12.
2000 Finishes second at Paris-Camembert and third in the French Dauphine Libere and Classique des Alpes.
Wins the Tour de France over Jan Ullrich and Marco Pantani, rivals who did not race in 1999.
Publishes It's Not About The Bike, about his comeback from cancer, which becomes a best seller.
2001 Wins the Tour de France for the third straight year.
Twin daughters Isabelle and Grace are born on November 20th.
2002 Wins the Tour de France, becoming one of five riders who have ever won four Tours de France. This places him among cycling greats, Jacques Anquetil, Bernard Hinault, Eddy Merckx, and Miguel Indurain.
2003 Wins a fifth Tour de France in five years, just 1:01 ahead of Jan Ullrich. Only Spain's Miguel Indurain has five straight wins.
Divorces wife Kristin Richards.
Publishes Every Second Counts.
2004 Weeks before the start of the Tour de France, Armstrong is accused of taking performance-enhancing drugs in a book written by David Walsh and Pierre Ballester. Even the authors concede that all evidence is circumstantial.
Begins relationship with singer Sheryl Crow.
Helps launch the Livestrong campaign, a fundraiser supported by the sale of millions of yellow bracelets. All proceeds go to support cancer survicors through the Lance Armstrong Foundation.
Wins a sixth Tour de France, making him the winningest Tour de France rider ever. He seals the event by winning five stages and the team time trial. He also becomes the first man since Gino Bartali in 1948 to win three consecutive mountain stages.
The 2004 Tour rides the Champs Élysées
Fotograf: Martin Zimmer
Originally from de.wikipedia
Author Original uploader was Vigala Veia at de.wikipedia
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Tour de France 2004
Ivan Basso And Lance Armstrong
Photo by ThiloK
(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
The Discovery Channel takes over sponsorship of Armstrong's team, formerly sponsored by U.S. Postal-Berry Floor.
2005 On April 18 announces that he is retiring from professional cycling after the 2005 Tour de France.
Wins his seventh and final Tour de France on July 24.
The Peloton of the Tour de France
9th of July 2005
Beginning of the ascend to Cote de Bad Herrenalb
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Photo by Oliver Regelmann
(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
As Lance Armstrong cruises to a seventh consecutive victory in the Tour de France, the world's premier road cycling event, most of us are left to marvel: How does the man do it? Is there something in the 33-year-old Texan's genetic makeup that makes him superhuman? Not if you ask Ed Coyle, director of the Human Performance Laboratory at the University of Texas at Austin.
Armstrong clearly has some great genetic advantages.
His oversized heart can beat over 200 times a minute and thus pump an extraordinarily large volume of blood and oxygen to his legs. His VO2 max—the maximum amount of oxygen his lungs can take in, an important measurement for an endurance athlete—is extremely high.
But other elite athletes have similarly powerful hearts and lungs. Instead, Coyle says, smarter training may have contributed to giving Armstrong an edge over his competitors.
Early in his career Armstrong showed only average muscle efficiency—the percentage of chemical energy that the muscles are able to harness to produce power. Higher muscle efficiency means greater production of power.
From 1992 to 1999, the year of his first Tour de France win, Armstrong was able to increase his muscle efficiency by 8 percent through hard and dedicated training. Coyle says Armstrong is the only human who has been shown to change his muscle efficiency.
"It was believed that muscle efficiency is something you're born with, that you can't change," Coyle said. "But we've documented that Armstrong has indeed changed it while training intensely."
By making his muscles 8 percent more efficient, Coyle said, "Armstrong is 8 percent more powerful on the Tour de France"—enough to get his competitors off his wheel.
In addition to a high VO2 max, Coyle's components include low lactic acid levels, and Armstrong has the lowest levels Coyle has ever seen.
When people reach exhaustion, their muscles build up acid, which causes the muscles to stop contracting. But Armstrong's muscles produce about half as much acid as the average person's muscles do when they get fatigued. This allows him to recover much faster than other people.
"You can see when Armstrong races, he can attack better than anybody," Coyle said. "He makes a break, then backs off and then breaks again, wearing [the others] down until they can't recover, and then he just takes off."
Though Armstrong had a genetic head start in some areas, he did not have an advantage in one area: muscle efficiency. At 21, Armstrong had a distinctly average 21 percent muscle-efficiency rate. Seven years later that rate had increased to 23 percent, a huge leap.
"We don't know exactly what accounted for Armstrong's muscular-efficiency change," Coyle said. But he suspects that Armstrong was able to convert fast-twitch muscle fibers to slow-twitch muscle fibers.
While fast-twitch fibers are good for sprinting, for example, slow-twitch muscle fibers are twice as efficient and are good for endurance sports.
With more slow-twitch muscle fibers, and increased muscle power, Armstrong is able to move his legs faster. As a result, his pedaling rate has gone up from 85 revolutions per minute to 105.
During Coyle's study, Armstrong was diagnosed with cancer and underwent surgery and chemotherapy. Remarkably, Armstrong showed no ill effects from the cancer upon his recovery.
It has been suggested that Armstrong lost weight from the cancer, making him a leaner (and better) cyclist. But Armstrong's weight eight months after his chemotherapy was the same as before his cancer treatment, according to Coyle.
However, surviving cancer almost certainly made Armstrong a stronger athlete mentally. Sports scientists agree that Armstrong is one of the most disciplined and focused athletes in the world.
"[He] is on top of the cycling world because of the combination and interaction of his genetic endowment, years of incredible training, competitive experience, and obsessive drive to achieve and persevere," said Phillip B. Sparling, a professor of applied physiology at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta.
It's a combination that's made Armstrong a rarity among men, but still just a man. "Most athletes are happy to perpetuate the myth of the superhuman," Coyle said. "But now that Lance is retiring, I think he'd be the first one to admit that he's not superhuman at all."
(ByStefan Lovgren for National Geographic News at © 1996-2009 National Geographic Society, July 22, 2005)
2006 In February, five months after their announced engagement, Armstrong and Sheryl Crow end their relationship. A few weeks later, Crow announces she is being treated for breast cancer.
In May, Armstong is cleared of doping allegations that stemmed from a drug test taken in 1999. The report states that the retesting of the sample fell far below scientific standards.
For the eighth year in a row, an American wins the Tour de France. Former Armstrong teammate Floyd Landis wins the tour as the leader of the Phonak team, but later loses the title when he tests positive for synthetic testosterone. Armstrong's team Discovery does not fair well, with Jose Azevedo the highest placed rider in 19th place, more than 38 minutes behind Landis.
2007 In November, Armstrong finishes 232nd in the ING New York City Marathon.
2008 In April, Armstrong finishes the Boston Marathon in the top 500.
In May, Armstrong is recognized as one of Time Magazines 100 Most Influential People.
In June, the website www.livestrong.com is launched by the Lance Armstrong Foundation and Demand Media.
CBS' 'The Early Show'
New York City, USA - 24.09.08
©2009 Contactmusic.com Ltd
Lance Armstrong and Nike Sportswear
'Stages' at the Montalban theater
Los Angeles, California - 07.03.09
©2009 Contactmusic.com Ltd
2009 In June, Armstrong places first in the Nevada City Classic—one of the most difficult professional cycling races in the United States.
Starting in early July, Armstrong competed in the Tour de France in pursuit of his eigth win.
Lance Armstrong survived the first mountain stage
The seventh stage of the Tour
3rd place but staying with the peloton
Jasper Juinen / Getty Images
Stage archive of the 2009 Tour de France:
(Stage winner and yellow jersey holder in parentheses)
July 4 —First Stage, Monaco—Monaco, individual time trial, 15.5 kilometers (9.6 miles) (Cancellara, Cancellara)
July 5 —Second Stage, Monaco—Brignoles, flat, 187 km (116.2) (Cavendish, Cancellara)
July 6 —Third Stage, Marseille—La Grande-Motte, flat, 196.5 km (122.0) (Cavendish, Cancellara)
July 7 — Fourth Stage, Montpellier—Montpellier, team time trial, 39 km (24.2) (Astana, Cancellara)
July 8 —Fifth Stage, Le Cap d'Agde—Perpignan, flat, 196.5 km (122.0) (Voeckler, Cancellara)
July 9 —Sixth Stage, Girona, Spain—Barcelona, flat, 181.5 km (112.8) (Hushovd, Cancellara)
July 10 —Seventh Stage, Barcelona—Andorra Arcalis, Andorra, high mountain, 224 km (139.2) (Feillu, Nocentini)
July 11 —Eighth Stage, Andorra-la-Vieille—Saint-Girons, France, high mountain, 109.7 miles (Sanchez, Nocentini)
July 12 — Ninth Stage, Saint-Gaudens—Tarbes, high mountain, 160.5 km (99.7)
July 13 — Rest Day, Limoges
July 14 — 10th Stage, Limoges—Issoudun, flat, 194.5 km (120.9)
July 15 — 11th Stage, Vatan—Saint-Fargeau, flat, 192 km (119.3)
July 16 — 12th Stage, Tonnerre—Vittel, flat, 211.5 km (131.4)
July 17 — 13th Stage, Vittel—Colmar, medium mountain, 200 km (124.3)
July 18 — 14th Stage, Colmar—Besancon, flat, 199 km (123.7)
July 19 — 15th Stage, Pontarlier—Verbier, Switzerland, high mountain, 207.5 km (128.9)
July 20 — Rest Day, Verbier
July 21 — 16th Stage, Martigny, Switzerland—Bourg-Saint-Maurice, France, high mountain, 159 km (98.8)
July 22 — 17th Stage, Bourg-Saint-Maurice—Le Grand-Bornand, high mountain, 169.5 km (105.3)
July 23 — 18th Stage, Annecy—Annecy, individual time trial, 40.5 km (25.2)
July 24 — 19th Stage, Bourgoin-Jallieu—Aubenas, flat, 178 km (110.6)
July 25 — 20th Stage, Montelimar—Mont Ventoux, high mountain, 167 km (103.8)
July 26 — 21st Stage, Montereau-Fault-Yonne—Paris-Champs-Elysees, flat, 164 km (101.9)
Total: 3,459 kms (2,149.5 miles)
(Copyright 2009 The Associated Press)
When the seven-time Tour de France champion returned to the Tour podium Sunday, July 26, 2009, his family was there. His fans were there. And so was rival and teammate Alberto Contador — wearing the coveted and hard-won yellow jersey.
Four years after his seventh Tour win, Armstrong capped his return with an impressive third-place finish. He had his whole clan on hand — son Luke, twin girls Grace and Isabelle, his mom, Linda, and his girlfriend Anna Hansen, with their baby Max, sporting bright yellow shoes.
They were among the massive crowd that poured out onto Paris' most famous avenue for the finish — Norwegians in Viking helmets, flag-waving Britons and an American in a stars-and-stripes top hat among them.
Lance Armstrong and RadioShack are forming a new cycling team that will compete in 2010 Tour de France. The seven-time Tour winner, who returned to cycling after 3 1/2 years of retirement, also said Thursday he expects to take part in running and triathlon events for Team RadioShack beginning in 2010. "RadioShack has agreed to partner with us on this venture and ensure that this partnership and this team stays alive for years to come, continues to be at the head of the peloton," Armstrong said in a video on his Livestrong Web site.
Armstrong did not indicate who else might join Team RadioShack, but he's expected to build a squad fully devoted to his ambitions. Armstrong has spent much of this year's race in support of Alberto Contador, who has the yellow jersey with three stages left. Contador is expected to join another team next season.
Armstrong also did not say whether his longtime friend Johan Bruyneel, Astana's current manager, would join his new team. Bruyneel was with Armstrong for each of his Tour victories.
Armstrong said RadioShack will help his Livestrong Foundation in its fight against cancer. He said the electronics chain, with about 35,000 employees in nearly 6,000 stores, can provide the resources to field a team that can compete in the world's premier cycling race.
(Associated Press at © 2009 Fox Sports Interactive Media, LLC. © 2009 Microsoft)